Birdman- A Review
Directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu
Written by Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris and Armando Bo.
Starring Michael Keaton, Zack Galifianakis, Edward Norton, Emma Stone, Amy Ryan, Naomi Watts and Andrea Riseborough.
This year in the 87th Academy Awards, Alejandro Iñárritu’s Birdman took the top position in winning four Oscars out of its nominated nine. It won the Oscar for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best Cinematography. Birdman is a true masterpiece, layered with so many different interpretations and emotions. Accumulating these layers, Birdman tells a tale of Riggan Thomas (Michael Keaton), a washed up actor who once upon a time played the iconic eponymous superhero, ‘Birdman’. Riggan battles his ego and pins everything on a play; a play that will supposedly bring meaning to his life. Pooling all he has and placing it on this play, Riggan attempts to reinvent himself as a director by staging a new adaptation of a Raymond Carver short story called “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love”. Birdman will leave you thinking days after watching it. Iñárritu stated that he left secrets in the shooting of the movie, never leaving all the cards on the table.
Iñárritu’s Birdman features an amazing cast of talented actors. The duo of Keaton and Norton lead a great ensemble in this very personal experience of Broadway. Keaton captures Riggan’s desperation so well, while Norton’s ‘Hard to deal with’ persona comes alive in his character. The cast of this movie has true depth in supporting roles. Emma Stone plays Riggan’s daughter amazingly by helping us see the true struggles in their relationship and the life of a celebrity’s family. The actors, in my honest opinion, execute their roles perfectly. They provide real characters that you can have real pathos for in your journey of understanding more about them.
Birdman is one of the most technically dazzling and thematically ambitious films of 2014. Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman makes you both feel and think about the humanity of the characters and the inner lives of celebrities, while commenting on the “cultural genocide” brought by a mass amount of superhero movies. Featuring a large amount of content that you have to dwell on, the movie also brings a great element to the screen of dark comedy and ironic situations.
This movie was a large undertaking. Due to Alejandro González Iñárritu’s rigorous shooting style, Michael Keaton and the rest of the cast worked hard to get used to it. One scene in particular required the cast to perform up to 15 pages of dialogue at a time while hitting precisely choreographed marks. Given this unusual style of filming long takes, Edward Norton and Michael Keaton kept a running tally of flubs made by the actors. Emma Stone made the most and Zach Galifianakis the fewest. As I was watching the movie I picked up on the fact that during the press conference in Riggan’s dressing room, he says that he hasn’t played Birdman since 1992. I doubt it’s a coincidence that it is the same year that Batman Returns was released, as well as being the last Batman movie Michael Keaton features in.
Michael Keaton said this movie was the most challenging role he has ever done. Birdman is endlessly complex and Riggan Thomas is an extremely layered character, emotionally and mentally hanging by a thread. Keaton was simply incredible in this movie and if it were up to me I would give him an Oscar for that. Birdman is a fantastic film and one that I personally would watch more than once because of the depth of content and characters the story presents.